21 And the LORD went before them by day in a pillar of cloud to lead the way, and by night in a pillar of fire to give them light, so as to go by day and night.
22 He did not take away the pillar of cloud by day or the pillar of fire by night from before the people.
15 Now on the day that the tabernacle was raised up, the cloud covered the tabernacle, the tent of the Testimony; from evening until morning it was above the tabernacle like the appearance of fire.
16 So it was always: the cloud covered it by day, and the appearance of fire by night.
Exodus 13:21-22 tells us that there was a cloud that went before the people, and the children of Israel were led by this cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night. This was when the children of Israel were fleeing from Egypt, desperate to get away from their taskmasters. They needed to be guided to cross the Red Sea. This text from Exodus occurred before the text from Numbers. What was the slight difference? The difference is that the tabernacle had not been erected when the children of Israel were coming out of Egypt. It was after they crossed the Red Sea that God got them to build a tabernacle and an ark for His presence. Now God decided to lead them based on a relationship – on the basis of His presence with them. God does not want to lead you just when you have a specific need or problem. God does not want to lead you just to face your “Red Sea.”
After their exodus from Egypt, God’s presence became the link to the children of Israel being led by Him. With the tabernacle they would understand that in following God they had His presence with them.
In this dispensation, God’s Spirit is always with you. You carry His presence on the inside of you. You are now the temple, the tabernacle of the Living God. That is why following God’s Spirit should be a lifestyle. It ought not to be something you try to put on when you are facing a “Red Sea” crisis situation. At such times you may not really hear God.
Confession: I am a tabernacle of the Living God. Following God’s Spirit is a lifestyle for me because I have God’s presence with me.